Not everyone is looking for the slimmest, lightest little laptop to take off on their travels. If you need something to replace that enormous desktop tower you've had since 1998, then a powerful laptop with a large screen is just the ticket.
Toshiba's Satellite P875-102 boasts a 17.3-inch screen and the latest Intel Ivy Bridge processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics card to offer serious grunt for office tasks and gaming.
It's available now for £1,100 from Amazon with the same 16GB of RAM as my review model. Toshiba's website points you in the direction of PC World, which offers a lesser 12GB of RAM for the same price. It's not exactly pocket change, but it's very reasonable for the power you get.
Design and build quality
The P875 packs a 17.3-inch screen, which should immediately be a strong indicator that this isn't going to be your lightweight travelling companion. It measures 418mm wide and 272mm deep, which is standard for a 17-inch machine. It's 33mm thick and weighs a hefty but unsurprising 2.99kg.
The P875 is certainly not built for sliding into a canvas messenger bag and being whisked off on a quick-footed adventure. Its true home is on your desk or lap while watching the superb Roy Walker on Catchphrase.
It's wrapped in a fairly sturdy-feeling alloy shell that's reassuringly free of flex and creaks under my aggressive pokes. If you did need to take it out and about, rest assured it won't shy away from a few bumps. It's unlikely to shatter the first time it falls to the floor when you spill your coffee and jump up.
The alloy shell is industry-standard silver, but it has an interesting texture that gives it an element of attractiveness -- it just about saves it from being lumped in with all the other silver laptops. The texture helps it shed fingerprints well so you don't need to be too careful about your cake-greased fingers when you sit down to work.
Under the lid you'll find more of that silver on the wrist rest and around the keyboard. It's nice to see Toshiba not cutting corners by slapping a load of cheap, shiny plastic inside here. I just wish it had taken the same care with the bezel around the screen. It's a shiny black affair that's horrifically flimsy -- get your fingernail underneath and you can pull it far from the screen. Not only does it feel as though it's a sneeze away from falling apart, it spoils an otherwise attractive machine. I can only assume the quality control team responsible for the silver coat played no part in the bezel design.
Above the keyboard are two grilles, each hiding two speakers provided by Harmon Kardon. Given the backing of HK, I expected a loud and full sound. What I experienced instead was a half-hearted mew that lacked definition, bass and volume. Laptop speakers are never much to write home about but I wouldn't be happy using these even for watching YouTube clips. You should really factor in the cost of a good pair of headphones or speakers if you value audio quality.
The edge of the laptop is wrapped in a lighter-coloured band and houses a very generous four USB 3.0 ports -- of which two support charging while the computer is in sleep mode. There's an HDMI-out socket, an Ethernet port, VGA-out, an SD card slot and headphone and audio jacks. There's also a Blu-ray drive, which I'll come back to later.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard's large, square isolated keys aren't the most attractive I've ever seen, but that's a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things. It's comfortable to type on though, even for long periods, and has a separate numeric keypad on the right. For some reason, Toshiba has decided to make the arrow keys half the size you'd typically find on tiny netbooks. That's pretty unforgivable on a machine of this size -- it's not as though space is tight. If you use the arrow keys a lot for scrolling through documents or gaming, you may quickly become annoyed.
The trackpad is particularly big and offers a matte texture, which makes sliding your finger about particularly easy. It's reasonably responsive and is entirely clickable, dispensing with separate buttons that would only take up valuable swiping space.
The P875 provides a whopping 17.3-inch screen for you to wrap your eyeballs around. If you're keen on films or glossy new video games then a big 17-inch screen size will appeal much more than the 11 or 13-inch screens found on smaller laptops.
Sadly though, the resolution on offer is only 1,600x900 pixels. That falls short of the full 1080p resolution offered on similar 17-inch machines like Toshiba's own Qosmio X770.